Indoor 5G And Effective Concealment
The first rollouts of 5G technology have been met with great excitement by those desiring faster speeds for download and connectivity. After only a short period, the pushback began with criticism of the amounts of equipment necessary for the infrastructure. The tradeoff between the faster 5G speeds and connectivity and older 4G and 3G networks is the amount of equipment that must be in proximity to the user of the network, and the distance necessary to the user’s device. With distances of upwards of a mile possible for cell towers comprising 4G networks to function effectively, much of the telecom infrastructure equipment used in the process could be installed far enough away from people to not have them notice. Because 5G mmWave small cell sites must be around one-tenth of a mile from the user, the visual impact is often noticed and sometimes less than desirable. For these reasons, the concealment industry has shifted its focus from mainly doing concealments for macro sites, to the concealment of 5G network equipment, often within challenging urban environments.
A “challenging environment” is a way to describe a multitude of urban areas that might not be accepting of the installation of new network infr4astructure, especially if it will be readily seen by the public and have an impact on the aesthetics of a particular region. While the availability of 5G signals and services within that area would be met with positivity most certainly, the “destruction of the landscape” in the name of technology is often not very well received by City planners and residential bodies. In an urban environment where densely packed people interact every moment, we find that these constituents can view the efforts to bring in 5G via small cell installations as counter-productive. These environments have been more receptive to 5G rollouts if the equipment can be concealed inside new street poles or hidden on existing poles that would already be there providing street light. Additional creative methods have produced a wide variety of custom solutions ranging from church steeples to side mounted shrouds designed to blend into the building on which they are placed, and into the surrounding landscape. At the core of the ability to conceal equipment within challenging landscapes is the materials used in the process. To this end Raycap has developed a technologically advanced material called InvisiWave®, as well as other materials, that will enable the rollout of 5G infrastructure by the wireless carriers. This material allows for 5G signals, whether mmWave or in the C-band spectrum, from antennas and radios to pass through it effectively, without degrading the signal. This allows the small cell equipment to be installed closer to ground levels while also concealing it, without upsetting the beauty of the region. Within indoor areas like stadiums or airports, the same philosophy of creative solutions is being used. Within the Tampa International Airport for example, 5G mmWave small cell sites allow connectivity for all major carriers, these sites being installed into walls and ceilings, or inside shrouds tastefully mounted or hung where necessary. This has allowed the Tampa Airport to provide 5G connectivity in its most high traffic areas and also to provide compensating 4G and 3G signals within areas that are lesser trafficked. Through additional optional features that can be built into the installations themselves, these sites can be maintained by airport personnel, all while also having the public present. Through the combined efforts to provide safety and beauty, large indoor installations as well as hidden outdoor installations are bringing 5G to a wider population, and in areas where it was not available before.